The beer, described as “California’s first genuine lager reborn”, was first bottled in February this year for distribution in California only but its success has prompted the brewer to start exporting it.
The beer is based on the first lager produced in the state in 1876 at a small brewery named Boca, north-east from San Francisco. The new lager is made in San Francisco with Cluster hops, which were the premier hop in 19th-century California, plus two-row California barley and the brewery’s own lager yeast.
It is kräusened – adding actively fermenting lager to the fermented beer for extra flavour and natural carbonation – and lagered in the breweries cellars.
The all-malt brew has 4.9% ABV and is available in 355ml bottles as well as on draught for selected bars.
It is crisp, clean, and refreshing, with a rich golden colour, distinctive aroma, lingering creamy head, balanced depth of flavour, and smooth finish.
“Anchor California Lager has been selling beyond our expectations since its launch,” said Keith Greggor, chief executive of Anchor Brewing Company.
“Our first release of this historical brew was immensely popular with the public and also with our Anchor employees. From day one, Anchor California Lager resonated with us not only because of its distinctive flavour, but also because of the rich brewing history that it celebrates.
“We are very excited to offer it in several more markets so that beer lovers can enjoy this uniquely Californian creation.”
The label carries a California grizzly bear, taken from a woodcut by Durbin Van Vleck (1833–1898), courtesy of The Bancroft Library at University of California Berkeley. First published in 1856 in San Francisco, it is a rendering of an original illustration by Charles Christian Nahl (1818–1878), who painted both eastbound and westbound versions of the bear.
Nearly a century later, Nahl’s bear served as inspiration for the design of the bear on California’s modern state flag. Although that bear is heading west, Anchor’s bear – like the bear on Boca Brewing’s historic lager label – is heading east.